If you’ve gone through the process of applying for Resource or Building Consent in Auckland this year (2016), you will no doubt have felt the presence of the “elephant in the Auckland Council living room”. Needless to say in the last 3-4 years, Auckland has been going through a strong growth phase of increased population, house values, and Building Consents to meet demand.
In the second half of this year the Auckland Unitary Plan become partly operative. Many property owners that would have been worse-off under the new planning rules, rushed in to submit Subdivision or Minor Dwelling Consent Applications prior to the change.
With the current housing shortage of 40,000 new homes in Auckland, an estimated 14,000 would need to be built per year for the next three decades. Unfortunately, the current building rate is approximately 9,950 per annum. It’s obvious therefore, that Auckland is failing to keep up with demand from the increasing population growth, and there seems to be no end in sight.
Auckland Council cannot cope with the pressure from the ever increasing housing crisis. Large numbers of Resource Consent Applications were lodged but not processed for periods of well over a month due to lack of resources and manpower. The situation is so dire that Auckland Council has been forced to outsource some of the Applications to external Planners in order to help ease the load.
Luckily, a 1% discount of the total administrative charges for every working day on which an Application remains unprocessed beyond the statutory timeframe, up to a maximum of 50 working days, will be applied.
The time will come very soon, when the Auckland Unitary Plan is fully operative and the New Zealand Government can only hope that Auckland Council have become more efficient with the processing of Consents. Failing to do so, the Government may need to take matters into their own hands.
This is the biggest “Elephant in the Room”. The inability to deal with the new Unitary Plan is a catch-22 situation, Auckland Council needs to figure out how to resolve it quickly and efficiently, or the dream of balanced supply and demand will never become a reality.